Small Congregation, Big Commitment: Restoring the Tyrone School
Submitted by Aaron Coffman
Thank you for being so willing to help share the word of the restoration that we are doing to the Tyrone Schoolhouse in Dawson, Pennsylvania. It does "take a village" and a determined one at that! The small congregation of the Tyrone Presbyterian Church has undertaken the preservation of our 1873 little brick schoolhouse and a capital campaign has been underway since the summer with a Rededication Ceremony.
The schoolhouse, being 150 years old, was experiencing structural cracking, settling, and significant mortar loss putting this building at risk. This project would place in phases as money is raised. Our goal for 2023 was to install three new windows on the building, have the weather side of the building repointed, and add gutters to the building.
Progress: We have installed the gutters, downspouts, installed two of the three windows, painted the oil tank, removed part of the broken sidewalk, and the weather side of the building has been cleaned, bricks restored, and repointed. We THANK everyone who has had a hand in this project thus far!
The next steps for this building, as funds are raised, is to continue to repoint, clean, and restore the brick on the building. This has not been done ever in the 150 year history of this building so to say the least it is a little past time. Next year, we also will be removing the chimney which was added on to the building sometime after it's closing as a schoolhouse and putting a vent back up through the roof in the same location as where the potbelly stove once was vented in it's second location.
The original stove was vented through the middle of the room and was later moved to the back corner where the chimney is present day. We currently have a honeybee hive which has made it's home in the chimney. Luckily for us, they are not in the flu which means we can continue to use this building this winter for the Church's programs (Boy Scouts and Men's Dartball). We also have one more window to replace on the Schoolhouse which will be performed next year.
I should also note that all of the work except for the brick cleaning and repointing has been done by volunteers and the Boy Scouts of Troop 150 Scottdale PA. We are well over 100 volunteer hours for this year put into this schoolhouse and have invested around $7,000 into the school which for a Church Congregation of 20 people and an annual operating budget of around $30,000 is quite the investment, I must say.
We have been blessed that many members of the Tyrone Presbyterian Church and the community have been very generous to financially supporting this project, but we are still around $15,000 away from the goal to get the rest of this schoolhouse preserved. Another side project that we will be working on in the future is renovating the restroom, but this is not something that was original to the building. It was added when this building was used as a barbershop/house. It serves us well today, but is not the best at preserving the historical integrity of the structure, so we are going to do our best to renovate it while also keeping the restroom.
(Editor's note: The good people of the Tyrone School will keep us posted. They have already proven that "Where there a will there's a way!")
Michigan One-Room School Association's "Schoolhouse of the Year"
Submitted by Joan & Dale Prouty, CSAA Board Members
Fellow charter CSAA members Suzanne Daniels and Myrna Grove had always shared their experiences with the Michigan One-room Schoolhouse Association with us. So when we were going to be in the midwest this fall and discovered the MORSA Conference was taking place close to the time we would be there, we decided to stay a bit longer and attend with Myrna.
It was a joy to be met at MORSA by a group of students from a school history club who assisted throughout the day. They were energetic and most helpful. After a morning enjoying the reunion with lots of old school memories and a home-cooked comfort soup luncheon reminiscent of those from the school woodstove, we all headed out to tour the Wooden Stone School which had received this year's M.O.R.S.A. "One-Room Schoolhouse of the Year Award."
What a step back in time. As you came over the rise there sits the schoolhouse at its original rural four corners where scholars attended from 1850-1952. Looking over the large schoolyard one could picture the youngsters enjoying their recess playing Snap the Whip, Ante Over, or Fox and Geese.
The unique restored building features stone of varied coloration collected from surrounding fields. Furnished with a classroom set of matching New Oxford desks, it once again sits ready to accept the next group of young scholars.
Some of the last remaining students who attended joined the group to tell of the times past here. Look closely and you can even find two of the original "blackboards" now painted green and displaying vintage posters.
Harking back to the days of community gatherings at the schoolhouses our day ended with a real old-fashioned end–of-the-year apple pie social.
Fortunately if you missed the M.O.R.S.A. Conference this year you still have an opportunity to visit this beautiful historic building and to learn why it is named the “Wooden” Stone School. This schoolhouse will be one of the featured stops on the 2024 CSAA Conference third day workshop tour being held at the University of Toledo June 9 - 12. The tour workshop registration maxes out at 55 participants, so reserve your spot early.
Access the link to M.O.R.S.A below...
Funding for Schoolhouse Preservation and Repairs
Raising money is always a challenge for many of our tiny organizations. People who undertake schoolhouse restorations know that fundraising is an on-going and lengthy process while money comes from countless resources to complete the task. Have faith in your mission!
The CSAA has helped many schools along the way by offering small grants to offset costs and/or serve as seed money toward other grants and funding sources. CSAA can serve as one piece of the preservation puzzle should your grant be accepted and approved.
BUILDING GRANTS PROGRAM
1. PRESERVATION GRANT ($1,000) – to be used in restoring or conserving a 1 or 2 room school building. This is for some part of the building ONLY. Not for artifacts or grounds work.
2. DISASTER RELIEF GRANT ($1,000)– This is used to cover damage from an unforeseen occurrence such as a storm, accident, or structural failure. These funds are to help restore the damaged building. It is not for regular maintenance or building improvement.
The complete guidelines and applications for the Building Grants can be found on the CSAA website or use the links below. Both can be submitted electronically and the deadline is January 31st of each calendar year.
Photos Below: Top = BEFORE Bottom + AFTER
Left to Right: Cole School, Iowa Spring Creek School, Kansas Forest Grove School- Iowa
University of Toledo to Host the 2024 CSAA Country School Conference
If you want a quick trip to see what's in store for the 2024 CSAA Annual Conference, take this 6-minute "easy chair tour" of Toledo and the University of Toledo! Printed material will also be provided on this site as it becomes available so you can start your travel folder.
A reminder...the Call for Proposals is open through January 31st. Be a presenter! Find this link under the WHAT WE DO drop down menu above.
Living History Today: Rewarding Innovation
In schoolhouses across the nation here are schoolmarms and schoolmasters working with their visitors for living history fun. They can be a part of Old Home Days, local elementary school field trips, or casual groupt tours. People love to hear how it was in days gone by. So how do we instruct and entertain our visitors with meaningful and memorable experiences?
One of CSAA's many grants recognizes the importance of keeping these programs alive while offering authenticity for visitors. How does your schoolhouse incorporate your artifacts, formulate lessons that are timely for a chosen era, and share the history of your school and your town?
The Country School Association of America (CSAA) Innovative Instruction Grant offers start-up support for the delivery of inventive PreK-12 and/or adult learning programs developed by country school organizations and/or individuals. Successful applications that articulate how the proposed instructional program will address best practices or new trends in curriculum, museum education, and/or public history and its benefit to a target group of learners will be preferred. This award is focused on supporting the implementation of instruction including the materials, resources, and needs in order to successfully pilot and sustain a program.
If you believe your schoolhouse offers, or would like to offer, innovative instruction and you are seeking support for your program, this grant could help. Check out our website for recent recipients and a submission form using the link below:
Saying Good-Bye to a Friend
It with a very heavy heart that I write to let you know our own Susan Webb, of Birmingham, Alabama and a member of the CSAA Board of Directors since 2006, passed away this week after a short illness. She was a founding member of the CSAA and promoted our organization wherever she traveled. This is a sad loss for all of us in the schoolhouse world, as few people were more committed, excited, or creative about sharing this history as Susan.
We talked a great deal about the opportunities we’ve had through CSAA conferences that allowed us to share our passion, meet new people, enjoy old friends, and experience so many interesting places in the interest of country schools. She was already preparing for the Toledo Conference in June of 2024, but fate intervened.
We will remember Susan for baking alphabet cookies and hauling them from Alabama to Nebraska, creating her Annual Conference Copy Book, role playing a prairie teacher, presenting the story of Noah Webster (her favorite), Julius Rosenwald Schools, Booker T. Washington & Tuskegee Institute, Reward of Merit Cards, Learning the Latta Way, Rediscovering McGuffy, and One-Room School Activities. Her conference presentations and community programs engaged her audiences with numerous hand-on lessons.
Susan Webb was also known as “America’s Traveling Schoolmarm,” where she offered living history programs in country schools that were preserved as museums, but did not hold traditional classes for area children. She gave countless talks across the country to colleges, historical societies, alumni groups, and the Alabama Humanities Alliance on one-room schools.
Susan leaves her husband and our friend Bill, who supported her unconditionally in her nationwide travels to share the history of one-room schoolhouses, leaders in education, and early public education. Bill has also been a great friend of CSAA and our members. We will miss their presence...
With great sadness,
A Country School Tell-All!
Long-time CSAA member, Larry Scheckel, attended the one-room Oak Grove District#15 School from 1948-1956. Oak Grove sat on a slight knoll in rural Seneca Township, Crawford County, in southwestern Wisconsin and educated farm kids from 1897 to 1962. Follow Larry as he trudges the one-mile gravel road with four siblings, the neighbor children, and a farm dog or two. He describes the interior: stove, library, drinking fountain, piano, hectograph machine, Ranger Mac corner, and radio. Larry writes about the recitation period, visits by the County Nurse and the Supervising Teacher, softball games, playground and indoor games, Annie-Over, snowball fights, the outdoor privies, school discipline, the curriculum, the Basket Social, the Christmas program, and the end-of-the-year picnic. Larry delves into teacher training, contracts, teacher expectations, and how teachers managed 28 students grades one to eight. He explores the bitter consolidation controversy and the closing of all 115 Crawford County one-room schools. Larry's presentation at the 2021 CSAA Virtual Conference served as a prelude to his latest book, Country School Days: True Tales of a Wisconsin One-Room School, published by Oak Grove Press. Everything you could ask for in a trip down memory lane and filled with very humorous vignettes...!
Larry Scheckel, grew up on a family farm in the hill country of southwestern Wisconsin, one of nine children. He attended eight years of a one room country school, four years of high school, off to the military for a spell, trained in electronics as a TV broadcast engineer, married, college, and started a teaching career. That career stretched over thirty-eight years teaching physics and aerospace science at Tomah, Wisconsin. Larry Scheckel has been named Tomah Teacher of the Year and Presidential Awardee. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards. Larry and his wife, Ann, are both retired teachers and live in Tomah, Wisconsin. Larry and Ann have published eight books, including Seneca Seasons: A Farm Boy Remembers, Ask A Science Teacher, and countless educational articles. For more about Larry Scheckel visit: larryscheckel.com